Baby Great Horned Owl Gets a Lift on Life

Back into its own nest, next to its sibling...
A baby Great Horned Owl while under treatment at Wild Care (Stephanie Ellis photo)

Here's a great Mother's Day story from our friends at Wild Care Cape Cod...

On Thursday, May 10th, Wild Care, Inc., a wildlife rescue and rehabilitation center in Eastham, responded to a call about a baby owl down on the ground in Harwich. The bird was found by, Shane Gleason of Brewster Burner who was working at the home where the bird was found. Shane encouraged homeowner Carol Threatt to give Wild Care a call. Wild Care dispatched Rescue Volunteer Elena Calabrese, who responded to the scene and transported the bird to Wild Care. The owlet, approximately 10 days old and covered in bright-white, fluffy down, was slightly dehydrated, but otherwise was in good condition. Wild Care Wildlife Rehabilitator, Leah Myrbeck, placed the owlet into an incubator and provided hydration fluids. The bird then received overnight care at the home of Wild Care’s Executive Director, Stephanie Ellis. Late that evening, Stephanie and Elena visited the site where the bird was found, to confirm the nest location and the presence of adult Great Horned Owls, and to determine the feasibility of placing the owlet back into its nest. “It is critically important to get orphaned owls back into their nest as soon as possible”, states Ellis. “Owlets imprint easily on humans, especially when they have just opened their eyes like this little bird. The owlet had been found close to a 40-foot tall tree that had a large platform-like nest in it, and homeowner Carol Threatt had seen a large bird fly from this nest earlier in the evening, so we felt confident and excited that this nest was where the owlet belonged.”

Yesterday morning (May 11th), the owlet was strong and bright-eyed, and Wild Care staff knew that time was of the essence to get the bird back into its nest. Wild Care’s Animal Care Coordinator, Jennifer Taylor, immediately contacted her son Jacob Seletsky, an Arborist for Bartlett Tree Experts of Orleans. Jacob was available to assist the following day, but he contacted Dave Chalker, Arborist Representative at Bartlett, to see if there was an available truck in the Harwich area that could help get the owlet into the nest immediately. Luckily there was! Bartlett sent Arborists Drew Baldasaro and Jerry Wingate to the rescue. Drew and Jerry arrived on the scene with a truck, greeted by Jennifer Taylor with the owlet. Drew, using his cherry picker truck, was able to lift the baby 40 feet and carefully place the owlet back into its’ nest, where a sibling was waiting.  An adult owl was spotted flying nearby, no doubt the female owl anxious to get back to her nest!

The entire operation took less than 3 hours - from the initial phone call to Bartlett, to replacing the owlet back into its’ nest. “This is an incredible example of how local businesses support one another during times of need, and an example of the wonderful service that Wild Care provides to the community and to the wildlife of Cape Cod.  The support of Bartlett Tree Experts helped us save the life of an animal,” states Ellis.

The nest will continue to be closely monitored by Wild Care Volunteer Elena Calabrese over the next week to ensure the presence of adult Great Horned Owls at the nest. “We are extremely grateful for the assistance of Bartlett Tree Experts and their Arborists Drew Baldasaro, Jerry Wingate and Jacob Seletsky, Arborist Representative David Chalker, and to Wild Care Volunteer Elena Calabrese, and homeowner Carol Threatt who was extremely caring and accommodating through the entire process. It was truly a team effort, with a great outcome!” declared Executive Director Stephanie Ellis

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